Psychedelic ‘What’ Crumpets?

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words by: tara wesson / photography: beehive pr

“That’s the most fun I’ve ever had preparing for an interview,” I tell Jack McEwan, the frontman of Psychedelic Porn Crumpets. Not coming up with questions so much as an overwhelming desire to run around inside his brain, Jack did me one better and spilled the beans on the band’s brand new album and tour.

To begin with, a name like Psychedelic Porn Crumpets was quite radical. Do you still get a reaction with that? I think it seems to sort of roll off the tongue and stick with you. And if it’s a long name, it’s going to be hard to say and hopefully easy to remember.

How would you describe your music? I’d say it’s like bungee jumping with a goldfish bowl on your head, but it’s forever, and it’s got a snorkel as well to keep you going. It’s just extreme. I suppose it’s the highest of extremities. I like it to meander around a lot, kind of catch people off guard. It’s very fast paced, ADD type rock.

Could you tell me about your next album, ‘And Now For The Whatchamacallit’? I kind of made it a theme park idea, all the songs are like rides from different times. There is a bit of a 1920s fairground vibe, but then there’s all this strange futuristic jazz stuff in there, and all these different guitar jingle jangle bits. There’s a lot of stuff that sounds like it’s a violin or organ, but it’s just me having a mess around on the old computer (laughs).

Do you see colours, textures and shapes when you compose? What does the process feel like to you? I just have no concept of time. I’ll flip on the monitors at like 11 in the morning and then it’s 2am instantly. And I haven’t eaten all day, and I don’t really know where I’ve gone but there’s this song that I’ve listened to over and over again. It’s almost like you get yourself into some sort of mantra type state. But yeah, I wish I saw colours. At the moment, I just see a screen and get headaches.

I’m going to my first PPC concert in June when you come back from the UK. What can fans expect to be different at your live gigs? I think it’s a bit more punky than our recorded music because obviously the records have got all this extra instrumentation on it, and we’ve got a fifth member now who plays keys and a bit of guitar, just to widen the sound out. We were getting to the point where we could only play a certain amount of songs. I think going forward we’re going to write music we can actually play live. Or else we’re just going to be stuck unless we have an orchestra or someone brings along like a, I don’t know, a harmonium. Is that even an instrument? Sounds like it’s an instrument.

So do you think touring this new album will be different? A lot of the songs I think are more accessible in a way. I wanted to hone in a bit more and try and learn how to rewrite a song you can just listen to and it doesn’t have to go everywhere. It’s like, it lives in this little body, here and now. But because I’ve done that, I’m working on a new album already that I just want it to be the most sporadic, antisong structures. This one is definitely very structured but it sounds good as an album, I’m really happy with it.

You’ve talked about the importance of always learning and challenging yourself. What are you learning to do / loving at the moment? Honestly just how to record, even play guitar (laughs). I need to learn how to sing properly. It’s easy singing into your mike at home when there’s no one around and you’re not jumping, but it’s something else when you’re playing the guitar or you’re playing live, your brain’s racing, your lips aren’t moving as quick and you’re doing an assault course of brain tricks while singing.

With your lyrics, you really play with language. Do you see that as a form of poetry? Yeah. I think it’s fun. I like alliteration, the way songs or words bounce off each other. I wish I could write actual narratives, that would probably be more helpful to get people to understand what’s going on (laughs). •